Nearly 70% of teens around the globe are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Teen braces play a crucial role in improving dental health and boosting self-confidence. However, getting braces is often more than just a rite of passage; it’s a journey that involves both physical and emotional adjustments. Understanding what braces entail is essential not just for teenagers who wear them, but also for their parents or guardians there to support them.

In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of braces for teens, shedding light on what to expect, the benefits, and how to navigate this important period in a young person’s life. Whether you’re a teen about to embark on this journey or an adult supporting them, you may have some questions, and we’re here to answer them.

Why Braces are Often Needed in Teenage Years

Most teens get braces during their early teenage years, when their permanent teeth have come in and orthodontic issues become apparent. This is typically around ages nine to 14.

The need for teen braces often stems from a variety of dental issues that, if left unaddressed, can lead to long-term oral health problems. Orthodontic treatment can rectify bite issues such as overbites, underbites, or crossbites, which, if ignored, can result in uneven wear of the teeth, jaw discomfort, and even difficulties in maintaining oral hygiene. Moreover, braces can help in spacing out crowded teeth, making them easier to clean and reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease. Beyond these functional benefits, teen braces can also have a significant psychological impact. A straighter, more confident smile can boost self-esteem and social confidence at a critical time in a young person’s development.

Types of Braces Available for Teens

There are two primary teen braces widely available: traditional braces and Invisalign aligners.

Most teens choose traditional braces. These are the stereotypical bracket and wire braces. Many teens opt for these braces due to their benefits:

  • They’re more durable than other alternatives.
  • They treat more complex issues.
  • They ensure better compliance as they are fixed to the teeth and cannot be removed by the patient.

An alternative to traditional teen braces is Invisalign for teens. These aligners are clear, and more comfortable for some compared to traditional braces. Plus, patients can eat all their favorite foods! However, with this convenience comes important responsibilities. The aligners must be worn for 20 to 22 hours per day to be effective, and they must be cleaned properly to prevent staining or tooth decay.

What to Expect During Your Orthodontic Journey

The day of your appointment for teen braces may bring some nerves. However, the braces process is simple and painless. During your first appointment, you’ll receive x-rays and digital impressions so we can create a braces or Invisalign solution custom to your smile. Next, your braces will be placed, or your aligner trays may be fitted. Over the next few days, you may experience some slight discomfort as your mouth begins to adjust to the braces, but this will subside.

Your treatment will require regular follow-up visits to ensure your treatment is progressing. If you have traditional braces, your orthodontist will tighten or loosen the brackets to align with your treatment. If you wear Invisalign, you’ll receive new sets of trays that fit your gradually straightening smile! This process can take 1-2 years, depending on the amount of alignment your teeth need.

Remember: maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial during your orthodontic treatment to prevent tooth decay and gum issues. You may be instructed to brush your teeth more often to ensure food debris isn’t lodged in your brackets or aligners.

Once the treatment is over, patients receive their retainers. Retainers prevent your straight smile from shifting. If you want to keep your smile straight after years of hard work, it’s important you wear your retainer as instructed! Otherwise, you may need braces or Invisalign again in the future.

How Parents Can Help

One of the most important tasks while supporting your teen with braces is to ensure that they are taking proper care of them. Be sure to encourage your teen to clean them properly and to avoid foods that may damage the braces. And even after wearing the braces, encourage your child to wear their retainer. Keep your teen on track by maintaining and scheduling their appointments accordingly. Additionally, be supportive of them. Children often feel insecure about their new braces and may want to hide them. Support them by acknowledging some of their recent accomplishments and help boost their self-esteem.

Getting Your Teen Braces from Exeter Smiles

If you’re starting your journey with teen braces, turn to Exeter Smiles. Starting with a free consultation, our orthodontists will guide your teen through every step of their orthodontic journey and ensure that their smile is happy and healthy. Plus, with four convenient locations and one all-inclusive price of $3,995 for traditional braces, you can’t go wrong! Request your free consultation today.